When I was travelling with my babies I often resorted to using a pacifier (soother) when they started to squawk. It worked to calm them. Fast forward 40-some years. I take the commuter train and subway to meet my sister for a lecture and lunch. To be clear my sister does not lecture me – although that might be a story for another day!. The lectures are provide by the university and are geared to life long learning. To get into the city I spend time standing on platforms, riding trains and walking. Everywhere I look I see the same thing – standing, sitting or walking, people have their heads down and are using their devices. I am sure that if I asked any one of them he/she would give me a dozen good reasons why this is necessary. In this age of anxiety and constant connectivity, I wonder if those devices are acting as adult pacifiers – calming us, soothing us, distracting us from what is going on around us. It is as though we are afraid to be alone with our own thoughts. I am grateful for the parts of our IOKDS motto that say “look up” and “look out”. I know that when those words were written they were meant in a metaphorical sense. Today I think we should take them literally. Our necks, backs, and eyes would be better for it and our ability to appreciate the small sights and sounds of our world would strengthen.